Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Our Corporate Megaphones, Denver Post

I think that we’re headed towards a future where most mass media outlets will function primarily as propaganda for the larger corporations that own them. It’s getting harder for newspapers to turn a profit, but a big megaphone to spew propaganda that helps other parts of your company, that is something that can be very valuable, even if its own operation loses money. The Moonies figured this out a while ago, though I think they may have overspent (apologies for the self-link, I’m very proud of the post title there).

He goes on to cite a particularly egregious example at the Washington Post (shocking, I know). Here locally we have The Denver Post whose Editorial Board has never met a moderate Republican talking point it didn't fully endorse or a union it didn't fully detest. The Post went so far as to run an above-the-fold, front page editorial when Governor Ritter dared to give state employees a very limited right to bargain over working conditions. Today the Post, via its parent company, is engaged in an all out assault on fair use and bloggers. Why does the Post seem to carry so much water for business and corporate interests?

The Post's publisher, Dean Singleton, heads up the Media News Group and so his positions could be seen as merely a reflection of a typical CEO style and to some extent it probably is. But from talking with people in a position to know such things I am told that Singleton himself is heavily influenced by his big advertisers. Possibly the Denver Post's biggest advertiser is local discount furniture huckster Jake Jabs, the same Jabs who very publicly backed 2008 Amendment 47, which would have turned Colorado into an anti-worker "right-to-work" haven. Not surprisingly The Denver Post endorsed the Amendment to Colorado's constitution.

So back to Doug's point - I think we've long been on the path where newspapers are functioning primarily as propaganda for their corporate owners and advertisers. Certainly we have been here in Denver.

No comments: